India, Pakistan share honours

MUSCAT, OCT 30 – A capacity crowd who came to watch India-Pakistan title clash was disappointed when rain washed out the Asian Champions Trophy final match in Muscat late on Sunday.
Eventually, the organisers declared both the teams as joint winners of the fifth edition of the hockey championship after rain left the turf at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex unfit to play.
HH Sayyid Taimur bin Assad al Said, the chief guest, presented the trophy to Indian captain Manpreet Singh and Pakistan skipper Rizwan Muhammad.
Also present were Shaikh Rashad al Hinai, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs, Asian Hockey Federation CEO Tayyab Ikram and Oman Hockey Association Chairman Talib al Wahaibi.
Meanwhile, India won the toss of coin supervised by the chief guest to earn the right to take the trophy home first. It will be given to Pakistan for the next year.
Indian head coach Harendra Singh said it was disappointing not to have the match played.
“We would have loved to play the final and hopefully win it. Anyway, we can’t do anything about it due to the weather conditions,” the Indian coach said.
Pakistan’s Muhammad Irfan Sr said his team was raring to go in the final.
“We were all set for a good match against India but for the rain.”
The veteran player said Pakistan players had a good tournament after the Asian Games disappointment, where his team lost to Indian in the bronze medal match.
“In this tournament, our players were completely in different form and shape when compared to the Asian Games in Indonesia. I think this boards well for us going into the World Cup in India.”
The World Cup will be held in Bhubaneswar, the capital of eastern Indian state of Odissa, from November 28 to December 16.
AHF chief Ikram expressed satisfaction for the smooth conduct of the tournament.
“It was disappointing not to see the teams in action in the final. After the heavy rain, best option for us was to declare India and Pakistan as joint winners.”
“Asian Champions Trophy gives the message of peace for all and we are happy with the great tournament hosted by Oman,” he added.
Sreejesh upbeat for World Cup
India’s PR Sreejesh, who won the best goalkeeper award in the tournament, said India are upbeat for the World Cup next month.
“In Muscat, we really enjoyed our time. The team is full of capable players who can shine at the top level.”
We look forward to the World Cup with a positive frame of mind and hopefully we can be at our best at home,” the former Indian captain said.
Akashdeep Singh, who was impressive in organising the Indian attacks, was selected as the player of the tournament.
Malaysia’s Faizal Saari, who scored eight goals in the tournament, won the top-scorer award. Pakistan’s Abu Bakkar Mahmood took home the promising player award.

Anuroop Athiparambath